“I think this has the possibility of being a catalyst for Haverhill,” said cabinet member Eric Pickles about the Haverhill Research Park.
Work has begun on what a cabinet minister says could be ‘a catalyst ‘ for future development in Haverhill.
Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, was in the town with spade in hand on Tuesday to get development started on Haverhill Research Park.
Infrastructure and landscaping including roads and a pond are expected to be completed before next May, with businesses then ready to move in on the £4 million development.
The site, in Hanchett End, will provide over 2,000 jobs and homes for 350 people.
“I think this has the possibility of being a catalyst for Haverhill,” said Mr Pickles.
The MP for Brentwood and Ongar put the spade in the ground to start work on Haverhill Research Park, which will provide around 2,000 jobs.
Mr Pickles praised the development which has been made possible by £4 million in loans from the newly formed New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP.
Nic Rumsey’s Carisbrooke Investments is making the park, and expects to have roads and landscaping, including a pond, in place before May next year.
Work would then start immediately after on a pub and 150 houses.
Prospective tenants could then choose where they want to be placed on the site and apply for planning permission.
Getting the building work started on Tuesday (November 7), Mr Pickles said: “I’ve spent most of my life being lectured to have a shovel by my side and now I have one.
“It’s great to see work start here and also great to see cooperation between the two LEPs and the developer.
“This can be a catalyst to get lots of things happening and something the local community can be very proud about.
“Of course it will bring employment to Haverhill but it’s more than that, it’s an exemplary site that fits into the area with a mix of uses on it.”
Mr Rumsey said he believes the high end jobs will benefit Haverhill people who will no longer have to commute to similar sites such as in Abington and Babraham.
“A large number of people work in South Cambs but live in Haverhill and the surrounding villages, so hopefully they can make their commutes even short by coming here,” he said.
The 450,000 square feet of office/laboratory/technology space will provide around 2,000 jobs.
The £4 million development got rolling after receiving a loan for that amount – half from the New Anglia LEP and half from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP.
Landscaping and infrastructure will be in place before May, with the pub and some of the houses done before Christmas.
Mr Pickles added: “The £770 million Growing Places Fund is unlocking much-needed local growth and getting the infrastructure and homes we need built. The New Anglia and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnerships , made up of civic leaders and local businesses, are using the money to help create jobs, homes and leisure facilities in Haverhill.”
“I now want to see more of these partnerships coming together and finding innovative ways to unlock local sites to get Britain building again.”
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “St Edmundsbury and Carisbrooke put a lot of work into this bid and its success is very welcome news, putting the Haverhill Research Park project securely on track to securing 2,000 new jobs for the town.
“It is an excellent example of people and organisations working well together across boundaries for a common goal”.
Mr Rumsey, director of Carisbrooke, said: “This together with bank finance from BLME is the final piece in the jigsaw which allows the scheme to go ahead.
“We have appointed Breheny as the contractor and works on-site commence today, 5th November; with completion programmed for April 2013.
“The high quality environment we are creating has already been recognised by Taylor Wimpey, who have recently submitted a reserved matters application for 150 residential units.
“We have also agreed the sale of land to Marston Inns, who have submitted an application for a 180 cover family pub/restaurant.”
Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “The Growing Places Fund has been set up to help kick-start projects which will create jobs across Suffolk and Norfolk.
“Haverhill Research Park is a fantastic project which will bring a significant number of jobs, new homes and businesses to the area. The application was very well put together and the board was unanimous in its support of the scheme.”
Mark Reeve, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP board member said: “This is a great step forward for the creation of new jobs in our LEP area as a direct result of Growing Places Funding.
“Working together on this project with New Anglia LEP and St Edmundsbury Borough Council has meant we can bring a significant amount of new jobs and much needed new homes to Haverhill.”
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, November 8) Echo.